Sharing Knowledge Key to Raising Professionalism of Clinical Research Workforce

Jerry Stein, PhD, ACRP-CP, President, Summer Creek Consulting

Jerry Stein, PhD, ACRP-CP, President, Summer Creek Consulting

Sharing knowledge—be it via writing an article for Clinical Researcher, presenting a webinar, or speaking at ACRP’s annual conference—has never been more important than today, says Jerry Stein, PhD, ACRP-CP, president of Summer Creek Consulting and chair of Clinical Researcher’s Editorial Advisory Board.

“We’re in a field that’s become more of a profession with well-defined standards, so we expect a certain level of competency by the people who are conducting research,” Stein says. “That goes for the principal investigators, the study coordinators, on through to the sponsors and clinical research associates,” he adds. “Publishing what we’ve learned and discussing the problems that we face is very important.”

In an era of so-called “fake news,” contributing to peer-reviewed journals and reputable information platforms is also critical for maintaining the integrity of an industry. “It is a big challenge to discern what is fact from rumor,” Stein says. Publishing information is “very important to establish what are the norms, how we should conduct studies, and what are the best practices most likely to identify safe, effective therapies,” he says.

Stein also believes some people aren’t aware of what they might bring to the table. “This is a relatively new profession. Only a small number of individuals have been trained in traditional academic settings and the certification process in only beginning. I think that a lot of people undervalue what they have learned by conducting clinical trials over the years,” he says. Even proven older ideas bear repeating now and then.

Not sure what to write or talk about? Stein has a tip: “Look at the problems on your desk or your current challenges. If a procedure is unclear to you, there’s a good chance it’s unclear to other people as well,” he says.  “Once you identify the main topic of your article [or presentation], you’d be surprised how easy it is to write about a particular topic. Very often, the ideas seem to present themselves.”

Stein is part of a group of experienced, published authors offering some insider tips at a webinar on “Writing for Publication in the Clinical Research Field” on Wednesday, December 5 (soon to be available as a Webinar Replay). “There are probably many people who are right on the edge of writing that need a little bit more motivation, but don’t know anything about the manuscript development and submission process,” he says.

There’s another benefit to becoming a published author, according to Stein: “I think it helps one’s career quite a bit” and can serve to differentiate one professional from another.

Stein cites what he calls the “95% rule.” “Most of the time what you’re doing day to day could be accomplished by someone at a lower level or with less education than you. So, what affects your potential advancement is that 5% of the time when you demonstrate your knowledge by adding some extra value that someone doesn’t have,” he says.

Stein adds, “The fact that you have done a lot of research to put together a publication or have the prestige to be identified as a subject matter expert—that’s going to push your career forward as well as give you the confidence you need in your current job.”

Author: Michael Causey